Sat Jun 16th, 2007 at 07:10:47 AM EST
I cannot quite fathom how anyone could think this is a good idea. Indeed, I think it could do permanent damage to the EU:
Push for Blair as new EU president
Tony Blair, the British prime minister, could end up swapping Downing Street for a job as the first full-time European Union president, under a plan being actively touted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
It would, justifiably so, reinforce the stereotype of the EU as an out of touch, morally degraded institution. Even if to a large extent a representative function, it would permanently stain the office with Blair's past and present warmongering. It would also do precisely nothing to make the EU more popular with the Brits - on the contrary. Nor would it be helpful in international relations, much less once Bush leaves office.
Thankfully, there is still reason to hope that this will never actually happen.
Firstly, the job doesn't even exist at this point; it's establishment is only a proposal for the negotiations of the new EU treaty. As proposed, the job would be a permanent replacement for the current six-monthly rotating presidency.
The second reason to hope is that Blair seems skeptical and denies interest, at least for now:
Mr Blair's aides admit that Mr Sarkozy and other EU leaders have suggested the idea, but Downing Street insisted that Mr Blair was standing down from frontline politics on June 27. He has denied interest in the job.
Thirdly, there seem to be at least some important countries who are opposed to the idea:
But the British prime minister remains unpopular with governments in countries such as Italy and Spain, which opposed the Iraq war. Mr Blair's failure to take Britain into the euro will also count against him.
I wonder what the Germans think of this. I also wonder what possible motivation Sarkozy has to make this hare-brained proposal. I have a hard time taking the justification given by Sarkozy aides serious:
One of Mr Sarkozy's allies said they could not confirm the president was backing Mr Blair, but expressed support for the idea: "Why not? He is qualified for it. We want a politically strong Europe. We want a president who is credible."